TORRINGTON — St. Paul Catholic’s boys soccer team beat Torrington 2-1 at Torrington’s Robert H. Frost Sports Complex Monday night.
Despite the final score, the game seemed close on the field only in its final two minutes while the Falcons’ offense took it to the Red Raiders in the first half and St. Paul’s defense closed out the Red Raiders in the second until the Raiders’ final flurry.
“They played better than us,” said Coach Mike Fritch, disappointed after his team (4-5; 4-4 NVL) played with speed and fluidity in a Friday loss to undefeated Watertown.
Monday, it was gone. The Falcons (4-1-1) got off the first two shots of the game while the Raiders couldn’t get a foot on a pass near the St. Paul goal in the first four minutes.
After that, Torrington often settled for long and mid-range shots while St. Paul’s 2-3-2-3 formation slid up for one serious threat after another.
Luke Hines turned the corner for a hard shot off Torrington keeper Kevin Hidrovo; Hidrovo came out for a nice clean-up after another; Lance Arellano broke away for a hard shot off Hidrovo.
Finally, in the 15th minute, Adam Van Linter took a pass at midfield from Dan Reardon, racing up the middle for a chip shot over the advancing Hidrovo’s head for a 1-0 goal.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game for a week,” said Van Linter. “It was our next hard game.”
Torrington’s best first-half chances came on errant headers in the box on a pair of corner kicks while the Falcons kept up their pressure.
In the second half, St. Paul keeper Jack Noli made a leaping grab for Brett Stater’s long header to the goal while both sides missed chances at open nets.
Thirteen minutes from the end of the game, a Torrington defender’s inadvertent handball in the box set up a 2-0 penalty kick by Hines, almost sealing the Falcon win.
Then Torrington’s return to its Friday sense of urgency put the outcome in doubt for the final two minutes.
Raider freshman Braydon Nietch put a shot over the net from in close. Then Janos Herczeg hooked a great sliding goal past Noli from the left post.
With 45 seconds left, Xavier Rodas was just left off a Torrington corner kick, then a final Raider header went out of bounds.
“As JV coach, I’ve been wanting to see two things from the sideline,” said St. Paul’s Paul Cascio. “I wanted to see us win a close game and I wanted to see us win a defensive struggle.”
Monday, the Falcons gave him his wish.
St. Paul Catholic 2, Torrington 1
St. Paul 1 1 — 2
Torrington 0 1 — 1
Goals: SP — Adam Van Linter; Luke Hines (PK). T — Janos Herczeg. Assist: SP — Dan Reardon. Shots: 12-12. Saves: SP — Jack Noli 6. T — Kevin Hidrovo 7.
Records: St. Paul Catholic 4-1-1. Torrington 4-5; 4-4 NVL.